Monday, May 8, 2023

Ichigo Ichie. Star experience on a rainy night in Cork.

Ichigo Ichie. Star experience 

on a rainy night in Cork. 


No colourful signs (or stars) as you approach Ichigo Ichie on Cork’s Fenn’s Quay. On this rainy night, the only colour on the outside of the premises, on a blacked-out window, was a reflection of graffiti from across the wet street, the entrance just about visible. In the hallway,  you do see a little sign Ichigo Ichie sign, just before the big smiles. The big smile is on your face as you exit a happy hour or two later.

It was certainly on ours as we left, even though the rain was still there, even stronger now, as we had enjoyed a multi-course meal in Takashi Miyazaki’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Like most Michelin places, prices are high here but we had spotted a midweek offer and were so glad that we took advantage.


They get a sitting in a little early so that drinks orders may be taken and served and, since the €75.00 menu itself was set, the drinks were about all we had to decide on with the help of friendly and efficient staff. There was a lovely buzz of conversation around the calm space as we went through the lists. 

For me it was always going to be Sake. They have quite a list here and my pick - I’ve had a can (Honjozo) here previously - was the Kikusui-Funaguchi (Honjozo, Niigata). Niigata is regarded as the most prestigious and well-known region and the Honjozo style is when the makers add a little “brewer's alcohol” to lighten the sake and clean things up. My 200ml can was a delight, light-dry taste with hints of sweetness and a fruity finish, followed by a clean and pleasant aftertaste


CL also enjoyed her choice, the Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Aligoté 2021, a dry, pure, elegant, natural wine, produced only in those years when the fruit is in great condition. It is crisper than Chardonnay but with depth and superb texture, outstanding match for most the meal ahead.


With the drinks sorted, we were soon on our way. Beginning with a trio under the title of Hassun, a hat trick of bite-sized  delights. First up was the Tori Yawara maki (chicken though burdock, carrots, haricot vert). Then we turned to the Asparagus Tofu (Lisheen Greens, asparagus and sumiso ). The star though was the Kaki Domyoji age (Rossmore Oyster, puffed rice, Aonori and nitsume sauce).

By the way, I have never quite got the hang of chopsticks but don't worry, knives and forks are available!

Quite a spectacular dish followed, the Mukouzuke. This selection of sashimi was called Kisetsu no osashimi and Yellow Fin, Turbot, Sea Bass (torched), monkfish and oyster were included along with a range of accompaniments that included salmon and trout roe, ginger and a Japanese plant that had similarities to basil. Our servers gave us all the details but not easy to remember them later on!

Tai Meshi

Perhaps the star dish of the evening came next, the Yakimono (refers to a dish cooked over direct heat). Ours was titled Chateaubriand with Caherbeg beef fillet, Hakusai miso, egg yolk, truffle, Singing Frog kinome. The beef was amazing, enhanced by everything around it. That beef comes from the Allshire family farm in Rosscarbery and the kinome (leaves of a Japanese fruit tree in the citrus family) comes from the Singing Frog garden also West Cork based. A big thumbs up for that course.

And the good mood continued, again Singing Frog involved with our Gohanmono course. The Tai meshi came in one bowl and inside were Sea Bream, Singing Frog wasabi, ginger, nori and rice while the other bowl (called Nameko akadashi jiru) had Red miso, Garryhinch nameko, tofu, chive and dashi. 

Course number five was Kanmi (dessert) and was titled Rhubarb, shiso gelato. The rhubarb came from Lisheen Greens and went down very well with the gelato.

Then it was time to settle up and head off into the rain after another memorable meal, thanks to the maestro and gentleman Takashi Miyazaki in Ichigo Ichie. “The kid’s done well “ as they say in football. Indeed he has, come a long way from Molly Malone’s Irish pub in Hiroshima.

* By the way, if a Michelin starred restaurant can serve alcohol in a can, I wonder why are so many local restaurants are “shy” about offering craft beer in a can.

Reflected selfie

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